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10 Beautiful Coastal Drives

6:31 AM, Jun 15, 2013   |    comments
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Road trips are a blast for so many reasons, but nothing enhances the experience like spectacular scenery. From the rugged coast of Oregon to the verdant shores of Lake Michigan, you'll find an abundance of memorable vistas on these coastal routes.

Overseas Highway, Florida

On the opposite side of the country, you can hit the pavement of another coastal road, the Overseas Freeway. This island-hopping highway stretches 160 miles from Miami to Key West, with the most famous segment, Seven Mile Bridge, connecting Knight's Key and Little Duck Key.

Pacific Coast Highway, California

California's Pacific Coast Highway, or Highway 1, is one of the most iconic American roads -- and one of the most beautiful. As you make your way from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the road hugs the shores of the Pacific, passing through Big Sur National Park, Malibu and Santa Barbara along the way.

Hana Highway, Maui, Hawaii

When you cruise along Maui's Hana Highway, you'll have the Pacific Ocean on one side and hibiscus-covered cliffs on the other. The most spectacular potion runs 38 miles from Pauwela to Hana, crossing 54 one-lane bridges and winding along some 600 curves. Not one for the faint of heart.

Cannon Beach to Florence, Oregon

From towering Haystack Rock to the sandy dunes outside of Florence, the stretch of US 101 that winds along the Oregon Coast is dotted with quaint fishing villages, sea caves, rocky islets and miles upon miles of deserted beaches. Be sure to stop in for some fresh seafood in Yachats.

Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan

From Traverse City, scenic highway M-37 stretches for 18 miles along Michigan's Old Mission Peninsula. Take a break (or two) from the Great Traverse Bay views with stops at one of the eight area wineries, many specializing in white and ice wines. Find a place to pull over in the early evening to watch the sun set over the bay on Lake Michigan.

Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

Many travelers come to Nova Scotia specifically to take a drive along the coastal Cabot Trail. The road loops for 185 miles through the Cape Breton Highlands, with stops along the way for hiking, whale watching and grabbing a meal at one of the small roadside towns.

Cape Cod Scenic Drive, Massachusetts

To see the beautiful shores of southern Cape Cod from behind the steering wheel, follow the 63-mile stretch of Massachusetts Highway 6A, also called Old Kings Highway, to U.S. Highway 6, passing through Provincetown and the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Acadia National Park Loop Road, Maine

Take a break from camping and hiking to make the short and stunning 27-mile drive along Acadia National Park Loop Road. Beginning at the Hulls Cove Visitors Center, the road will take you past the mountains, lakes and rocky shore that make Acadia one of the country's favorite national parks.

Delmarva Peninsula, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia

Head south from Annapolis toward Virginia Beach, and you'll enjoy 210 miles of road stretching through wetlands and fishing towns along the Chesapeake Bay. Another popular -- and equally beautiful -- route extends along the Coastal Highway (Delaware State Rd 1) from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to Ocean City, Maryland.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

The view is all dunes and beaches when you drive along the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway of North Carolina. Be sure to schedule time for a stop at Pea and Cedar Islands for some birdwatching -- migrating waterfowl are known to stop here on their way north and south.


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